For as long as I can remember, I had a dream tugging at my heart. I wanted to explore this beautiful world and see different skies. Around the age of six, however, life threw a little curve ball my way. We discovered that I was born with a neuromuscular disease that would cause my body to progressively weaken as time passed. Once a ballet-dancing little girl, at 24, I now sit in a wheelchair and rely on a fancy little gadget to help me breathe.

For the past ten years, despite the complexity of my situation, that yearning to stretch to new places hasn’t wavered. More than a desire, it has been a constant quenching in my bones – an itch that could not be ignored.

But, you see, traveling to distant lands isn’t the most convenient when your luggage includes a 400 pound wheelchair and an assortment of other electricity-dependent machines. I’ve planned trips in the past, to places far and not-so-far, always thinking “this time, I’m actually going to do it,” until fear creeps in and the reality of my situation freezes me in my tracks. It was always the same cycle: it began with “What if” this and “What if” that, and always ended with deep frustration: “Why does my heart have to want what can’t be had?” This time, however, was different.

Last year, I took a big risk. I decided to not let fear reign in my life anymore and I jumped, head first, into the unknown waters.

But I wasn’t alone. Five of my dearest friends were right beside me, ready to jump in, too. And that made all of the difference. Together, we chose to embrace the unknown and step into risk for the sake of adventure. Each of us had valid reasons to walk away from this opportunity: we were dealing with sicknesses, injuries, and financial burdens. But I think our willingness to support and challenge one another to push through the fear gave each of us the courage to climb the mountain and see the view from the summit.

On February 28th, 2014, we boarded an airplane in Orlando and flew across the country to San Diego, CA. We filmed our whole journey because we wanted to tell a story of hope that isn’t dependent on agreeable circumstances. We actually had the honor of finally releasing that short film this past week. You can watch it here.

This five-day journey of new experiences, unexpected surprises and deeper friendships taught us that we were all born with dreams knitted to our hearts. Inside of each one of us is a unique intended purpose that we created to live out. Life is messy and sometimes we get scared or comfortable or distracted. We settle for a store-bought bouquet when, in reality, there is a beautiful field of wild sunflowers right outside our back door. If we would just muster the courage to walk out there and embrace the people we were created to be, our lives would begin to change, and so would our cities.

Our leap of faith to the west coast catalyzed a lot of incredible opportunities in our lives and from this adventure, a new dream was born. As we settled back into Orlando, we realized we were changed people and we felt the pull in our hearts: we need to share these discoveries with the people around us. And so we created Live Alive, where our goal is to help people discover their purpose, overcome fear and live out their dreams through a community of hope and inspiration.

A friend recently asked me, “Why was this time different? Why did you finally actually follow through on your plans?” My answer: community. This time was different because I wasn’t trying to pursue my dream on my own. I was walking through this with trusted friends by my side. When one of us would doubt, another would encourage. When one of us wanted to give in, another was right there to lift up. It definitely wasn’t easy to get out of my wheelchair and sit in a plane for six hours, but walking through the mess with loved ones by my side made it possible.

I am convinced that is true of all of our dreams. I don’t think we were made to pursue them by ourselves. We were created to thrive in community that knows and loves us. What a beautiful reality that is.

What makes you come alive? What is that something that fills your soul with an unshakable sense of purpose? That something is most likely pointing you to who you were created to be. That something is your dream and you were meant to live it out with the community around you.